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Create a Customer-Centric Culture

Ensure employees know how customer-centricity and customer experience drive repeat business and revenue.

According to Forrester, a customer-centric culture is “a system of shared values and behaviors that focus employee activity on improving the customer experience.” While more than 90% of executives say improving the customer experience (CX) is a "top strategic priority," most companies are ill-prepared to achieve their CX goals.

A survey by the Temkin Group indicates that 90% of North American firms aspire to be CX leaders in the next three years; however, only 10% are truly customer-centric.

Following are 15 steps you can take to build a customer-centric culture:

  1. Make customer centricity and providing an outstanding CX part of the corporate culture by inculcating into the vision, mission, and values of the firm.

  2. Make a commitment to differentiate your brand based on customer service and providing an outstanding CX.

  3. Hire people with aligned values that understand the importance of the customer and have examples of providing outstanding CX.

  4. Align recruitment criteria with customer-centric values.

  5. Empower employees to find like-minded people.

  6. Tune the selection process to test for desired results. Zappos offers new hires up to $3,000 to quit following the four-week training period.

  7. Provide guideposts with onboarding and training.  Companies that fail to have an onboarding program will have a misaligned employee base.

  8. Empower employees to use their judgment to provide outstanding CX.

  9. Create an emotional connection with storytelling. Ritz-Carlton has a daily line-up at all properties which includes a “wow” story during which “ladies and gentlemen” (staff) share great things they’ve done for guests.

  10. Reinforce day-to-day activities with routines and rituals. At Disney, “cast members” (employees) are expected to take five minutes from their normal daily duties to do something special for guests.

  11. Recognize and celebrate personal achievement. Starbucks encourages personal recognition with MUG awards which partners give to employees to thank them for “moves of uncommon greatness.”

  12. Compensate and promote based on customer-centric metrics. Mercedes-Benz and Lexus evaluate dealerships on customer satisfaction measures as well as sales.

  13. Hire, socialize, and reward process mavens. Fix internal processes to reduce problems that lead to increased call volume and lines in retail branches.

  14. Tie rewards for product and service innovation to customer metrics.  Intuit attaches a Net Promoter Score to each new product release.

  15. Develop support systems for a culture of empathy in which you listen to customers and reach out to them to determine how you can improve their experience.

When is the last time you publicly recognized an employee for providing an outstanding CX?


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